Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Another John McCain advisor under fire for lobbying work

Just when John McCain was trying to show the world -- well, at least the part that will vote come November -- that he's a take-charge kind of guy, yet another one of his advisors is getting smacked around for his lobbying work.

The reports have been cropping up in several places, and you can absorb the details there, but from a campaign standpoint this looks to be part of a migraine that just won't end. McCain has been persistently bedeviled by staff hires counter to his efforts to push the image of himself as a maverick reformer.

The issue this time is advisor Randy Scheunemann and his business partner, who apparently lobbied McCain or his staff dozens of times on behalf of -- and getting paid by -- Georgia. As the Associated Press summed it up:  "On April 17, a month and a half after Scheunemann stopped working for Georgia, his partner signed a $200,000 agreement with the Georgian government. The deal added to an arrangement that brought in more than $800,000 to the two-man firm from 2004 to mid-2007. For the duration of the campaign, Scheunemann is taking a leave of absence from the firm."

McCain, of course, has warned Russia that its actions in Georgia could cost it "the benefits they enjoy from being part of the civilized world," and has called for the deployment of international peacekeepers in the region. His staunch defense of Georgia -- regardless of how the showdown came about -- raises questions about the possible conflict of interest of Scheunemann, one of McCain's top foreign policy advisors.

You'll remember McCain's own concerns about perceptions of conflicts for the lobbyists on his staff led to an very public internal purge in May. Apparently, McCain missed one.

-- Scott Martelle

Comments () | Archives (8)

The comments to this entry are closed.

This information needs to be included in analyses of the origins of the current crisis, and our free press needs to stand up to any pressures that limit their analysis of this crisis to McCains simplistic, dishonest and dangerous diatribe.

Saakashvili's original August 8 attack on South Ossetia is important to every single story that comes after it, even if we wish to argue that it had been provoked, or that Russia's military response to it was excessive. Any story that omits discussion of what impelled Saakashvili to launch it brings us closer to the kind of ideological blackmail that silenced our press in the run-up to the Iraq invasion. John McCains foreign policy advice comes from a paid agent of the unstable opportunist who ordered the attack. It is your responsibility to investigate this more fully.

The US, meanwhile, has been maneuvered into a position of having to mouth untruths in support of this person, and send him millions of dollars in "aid." When I say this out loud, my patriotism and resolve will be questioned. So be it.

"For the duration of the campaign, Scheunemann is taking a leave of absence from the firm."

Important to note, however, that as part-owner of the firm, Scheunemann will continue to gain financial benefit even during his "leave of absence". Obvious conflict of interest.

who cares if he takes a leave of absence. its still a very questionable relationship and a huge conflict of interest. now gramps is pretending to be president and starting a war with russia after getting paid off by georgia. he didn't have a stance on georgia until after his neconman lobbyist dude got paid off. just like drilling, no drilling, until mcsame got paid off by oil, now drill baby.
meanwhile with katrina urgency w takes off for vacation again. now over 2.5 years of the past 7, he's been on vacation.

I for one, applaud your patriotism. I asked my wife the other day, "why is Georgia good and Russia bad? Why does McCain decide who we side with?"
Where does McCain get off telling the Georgian president that we are all Georgians?
It seems that Georgia was emboldened by the presumption of American defense, like the little rich brat who derides his teachers all semester long, then runs to daddy when the teachers have the audacity to give him a poor grade.
I'm not sure why defending a country that invaded a much smaller and weaker territory is considered patriotic. More like moronic. Especially when Fox News reports that the Georgian military members were firing on civilians and journalists—American journalists.
We're all Georgians, Mr. McCain. Maybe if they pay me $200,000. Or $800,000.
The sad thing is, I've called a few of my politically aware friends and family members to ask them about the developments in this story and none of them knew anything about Randy Scheunneman or McCain's monetary ties to Georgia.
If this was Obama, EVERYBODY would know.

McCain = Dr. Strangelove

Well, the way I see it is that of the TWO choices we have, Obama is certainly the lesser of the two evils. Lord knows we cannot afford McSame for the next four years.


I'm sorry - this conflict with the lobbyist makes this look like the "October" surprise. They've stoked the Georgian President to be firm with Russia, and Russia wanted to swat the "ant." That's why the Georgian President said its time to put action to words. He was promised something and was waiting for it to materialize.

I hate thinking this was contrived, but Russia says Georgia struck first. This President was just mouthing off and being bellicose, just as McCain. Since when does a candidate call for a foreign policy different from the President?

If this were Obama, the MSM would be eating him up. Even McCain and company were saying he was looking persumptious during his Overseas Tour of at the end of last month; now who is being trully presumptious?

We need to peruse this closely, especially coming on end of Scott McClelland and and Suskind's revelations lately of intentional provocation and war activities. Now McCain, standing next to Mr. Red and Orange Alert and discussing potential launching ideas of Ridge being the VP is too pat, and Rovian! Who is going to look into this closely?

October just came early! If you peak too soon, you lose your intended outcome.

A detail that you left out is that Randy Scheunemann didn't stop receiving salary from his firm (last I saw he was the President of Orion) until mid May. And since he is reportedly only on a "leave of absence" that means that lobbying money from Georgia and any other client will be waiting for him on the Wednesday after the election.

Rest assured, as an owner of an LLC, Scheunemann will be receiving all his share of the profits of the company. So he is a past and future paid foreign agent of Georgia. His firm is just holding a nice big IOU for him.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: